Jason Rockman is a busy man. In addition to being the powerful frontman of Montreal based hard rock outfit Slaves On Dope, Rockman is also an on air DJ for Chom 97.7 FM, pop culture columnist for CTV News, voice actor, and media co-coordinator for the Montreal Comic Con. Rockman is also a lifelong comic book fan that still avidly reads comics on a weekly basis and has numerous comic book related tattoos that are inked into his sleeves.
Rockman’s band, Slaves on Dope, have toured the world countless times over and had the prestigious honor of being the first band signed to Ozzy Osbourne’s record label Divine Recordings. They have cross the country with some of the biggest names in hard rock and metal, and even toured with the travelling heavy metal circus known as Ozzfest.
Slaves on Dope just released their new album “Over the Influence” on Rocket Science/THC Music and Bloody-Disgusting caught up with Rockman to talk about the new record and his love for all things comics. Rockman was kind enough to talk about what has been at the top of his weekly reading stack, his love for DC’s New 52, his opinion on the new Superman film, and the Montreal Comic Con.
Bloody-Disgusting: You’ve been very vocal about your longtime love of comics. What was the book that got you into comics and what is the creative team that got you to keep coming back year, after year?
Jason Rockman: It would be a toss-up between the New Teen Titans by Wolfman and Perez or the Uncanny X-Men run by Byrne and Claremont. Both those books left a huge impact on me to this day. I would also have to say the Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil’s run of Green Lantern and Green Arrow, because those were game changers. Neil Adams is by far my favorite artist of all-time. What he did in his career for the comic book industry should be applauded, because he is a living legend.
BD: What books can we find on your monthly pull list at your local comic shop?
JR: Right now, I am really behind in my reading, but I have been seriously digging all the DC New 52 stuff I have read so far. I also have been reading the recent Star Wars reboot by Brian Wood and Dark Horse.
BD: There has been a lot of debate about reading hard copies verses digital. Which format do you prefer and why?
JR: I sincerely gave digital a shot, but I couldn’t get into it. I know it makes more sense on so many levels, but I guess I am just old school. I need to read my comics in my hand and feel the paper, and see the colors. Plus nothing beats that feeling of reading a book and trying not to crack the spine or bend the corners; it really makes you feel alive.
BD: You have a number of comic book related tattoos, can you tell us what you have and why you decided to ink them into your skin?
JR: I have a Greg Land Dark Phoenix tattoo, a Mike Deodato Jr. Hulk and Human Torch, as well as a Ivan Reis Superman and Batman. Then, I also have a Boba Fett and a Darth Vader; I love this stuff and always have. Basically it’s a lifelong passion for me, so why not tattoo it on your body, right?
BD: You are the media coordinator for Montreal Comic Con, which continues to grow every year. Tell us a bit about the evolution of the con and how you got involved with it?
JR: I first got involved when I wrote an article for a local paper on the event. I met Oscar, Liz and Alex, who are the founders of the event, and they arranged for me to take The Honky Tonk Man, Lou Ferrigno, and Jeremy Bulloch to dinner. It was the most surreal dinner of my life. The next year I started to help get the word out, as I am a pop culture columnist here in Montreal for CTV News and I did a few features on the convention for with our local news anchor. We saw the show grow even more, so at that point we all sat down and decided to get me involved in more of an official capacity. I am a very small part of an amazing team at Montreal Comic Con and I am blessed to work with great people.
BD: You had the opportunity to host the Shuster Awards last year, how big of an honor was it to be involved with such an iconic awards show within the comic book industry?
JR: That was a trip and I really didn’t know what to expect, but was pleasantly surprised. It was a classy event, and a great thing to add to the old resume!
BD: Now that we’re approaching the 2-year anniversary of DC’s The New 52. What are your thoughts on the re-launch and what books are you reading? What books in the re-launch did you not care for?
JR: I love Justice League, Red Lanterns, Green Lantern, and the Batman titles, especially Detective Comics. Also the work Marco Rudy did on Swamp Thing was some next level stuff; I love that guy!
BD: You are a huge fan of Superman. What did you think of the teaser trailer for Zack Snyder’s “Man Of Steel” and do you think it will live up to the hype?
JR: I must admit that I was a huge skeptic, because I’m a massive Christopher Reeve fan. To me, Christopher Reeve was Superman. Having said that, I also really liked the Brandon Roth movie, unlike the majority of people. After seeing the trailer for Man of Steel, I am pretty excited. I think Zack Snyder will do a good job, but I am grateful that Christopher Nolan is in the shadows overseeing the project, because he won’t let it get fucked up. It should be a great movie, and I think Henry Cavill looks great in the suit.
BD: In addition to the feature film, Scott Snyder is launching a new Superman monthly with Jim Lee. Do you think Snyder will be able to create the same type of excitement for Superman that he did with his Batman run?
JR: For sure; Scott Snyder is a tight writer and knows how to tell a story arc. On top of that Jim Lee is a modern legend, so it will be a great read.
BD: You’ve stated that that you are a big fan of the Claremont/Byrne run on X-Men, what is it about their run on the book that made it so iconic?
JR: It was just great character development, storytelling and art. Those books really made me fall in love with comics. It just had so much raw emotion and feeling to it. You felt like you knew them, and you could relate to the problems, as well as how they felt dealing with the day to day problems of being a mutant.
BD: Tell us a bit about the new Slaves on Dope album and how it compares to previous releases?
JR: “Over The Influence” is a return of sorts for me and Kevin, as we really approached this record from a different angle this time. It was completely written in the studio, which has never happened before. We were also coming off a five year break, so we were very hungry, like when we started back in 1992. I think that comes across on the album and I’m really proud of it.
BD: Slaves on Dope took a lengthy hiatus and have returned to the music scene. How have things changed during that time and what is the current scene like compared to when you dropped “Inches From The Mainline” and “Metafour”?
JR: I really feel for musicians nowadays, as it’s a horror show out there. It’s very hard to make money and almost impossible to get noticed. If you want to live that lifestyle you have to be willing to give up a lot; you will be away from home a lot and be broke too! With that being said, in today’s age of music, you better be a great live band and have awesome songs. It’s all about the live experience now and the bands that deliver the goods will always be able to make a living.
BD: Anything else you want to say or cover?